Open Mind, a Community Lecture and Film Series and Special Events 2018

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December 4, 2018

Rabbi Steve Leder, author of More Beautiful Than Before: How Suffering Transforms Us examined the many ways we can transform physical, psychological, or emotional pain into a more beautiful and meaningful life. He was joined by Michele Ruiz, an award-winning broadcast journalist, author, public speaker and former Los Angeles news anchor for KNBC-TV.

Watch the video


November 14, 2018

Critically acclaimed author, Maryanne Wolf, discussed her latest book, READER, COME HOME, a lively, erudite, and deeply thoughtful look at the future of the reading brain as we become increasingly dependent on screens and computers

for how and what we think.


October 9, 2018

The Friends screened "Beautiful Boy" a deeply moving portrait of a family’s unwavering love and commitment to each other in the face of their son’s addiction and his attempts at recovery. Based on two memoirs, one from acclaimed journalist David Sheff and one from his son, Nic Sheff.

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September 26, 2018

Renowned clinical psychologist, Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D., discussed his latest book, Outside the Box: Rethinking ADD/ADHD in Children and Adults A Practical Guide. Both down-to-earth and cutting-edge, the book highlights multiple perspectives on how ADD/ADHD affects children and adults who suffer from it, as well as those who love and care for them.

Past Events by year


September 12, 2018

Metta World Peace discussed his book, No Malice: My Life in Basketball or: How a Kid from Queensbridge Survived the Streets, the Brawls, and Himself to Become an NBA Champion. The book explores how a kid from the projects became an international star. World Peace’s candor and help gain valuable insights on a life filled with emotional struggle, athletic achievement, and incredible transformations both on and off the court.


July 28, 2018

The Friends was honored to host two sold out screenings of the critically acclaimed documentary film based on Andrew Solomon’s award winning Book, “Far From the Tree”. 

June 21, 2018

Director Rebecca Carpenter’s father, Lewis Carpenter, was a running back for Vince Lombardi's NFL Champion Green Bay Packers. When he dies, her family receives a surprise call from Boston University’s brain bank requesting his brain – with shocking results. Lew becomes the 18th NFL player diagnosed postmortem with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative neurocognitive disorder that can cause episodes of rage, social withdrawal, and other unusual behaviors. Carpenter finds herself at ground zero of an unfolding public health controversy and embarks on a three-year odyssey across America to explore the far-reaching implications of this “new” disease in football players.

May 14, 2018

Frank Stiefel’s Academy Award winning short subject documentary film, "Heaven Is a Traffic Jam On the 405", takes its title from its protagonist’s unusual description of bliss. The 57-year-old artist Mindy Alper perceives her environment differently than those around her, channeling all manner of anxiety, depression and trauma into vivid, intensely human sketch drawings and large-scale papier-mâché sculptures. Ms. Alper is an artist who won’t let her disability slow her down.  Stiefel’s film is an intimate portrait of a complicated individual, attuned to the ways that art-making can assist the sometimes painful process of self-scrutiny and emotional revelation. "Heaven Is a Traffic Jam On the 405"  was created from more than 20 hours of interviews between Frank Stiefel and Mindy Alper.

May 2, 2018

Lisa Kudrow’s charm and wit set a great tone for UCLA’s Wonder of Women Summit #WOW on May 2, 2018. The event, held at the Luskin Conference Center on campus, was filled with meaningful and thought-provoking discussions about women’s whole health and well-being in a global environment. #WOW brought  together some of the most talented and successful women of our time: thought leaders and trailblazers in science, health, and culture. Their words of wisdom inspired, enlightened, and brought together a community, a  sisterhood of women united in their  common goal toward promoting a greater understanding, awareness, and treatment of brain disorders and mental illness in our society. Proceeds from #WOW benefited mental health education, research, and clinical care programs at UCLA. 

Open Mind Film Screening

April 8, 2018

The Friends screened COCO, the Academy Award winning animated feature directed by Lee Unkrich. David Reuben, M.D., Mark Tramo, M.D. Ph.D., and

Xavier Cagiga, Ph.D. joined Mr. Unkrich for a discussion following the showing.

Open Mind Lecture

April 5, 2018

Dr. Stephen Hinshaw, Professor of Psychology at UC Berkeley and Vice Chair of Child and Adolescent Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF, explores the burden of living in a family “loaded” with mental illness and debunks the stigma behind it. He explains that in today’s society, mental health problems still receive utter castigation—too often resulting in the loss of fundamental rights, including the inability to vote or run for office or automatic relinquishment of child custody. Through a poignant and moving family narrative, interlaced with shocking facts about how America and the world still view mental health conditions well into in the 21st century, Another Kind of Madness is a passionate call to arms regarding the importance of destigmatizing mental illness.

Out of My Head

Open Mind Film Screening

March 20, 2018

Award-winning filmmakers, Susanna Styron and Jacki Ochs, have produced Out of My Head, a feature documentary that dissects the history and mystery of migraine. It is the first comprehensive feature documentary about this neurological disease and its remarkable place in the human condition. The film illuminates many aspects of migraine, including medical research, personal stories, artistic expression, and spiritual experiences. By looking at the fascinating details, and the big questions too – the source and management of illness, the economic cost of human disability, the nature of pain and suffering – Out of My Head shines a light on the frontiers of neuroscience and the exploration of the brain. Director Susanna Styron’s work has been viewed internationally in numerous prestigious film festivals; via broadcast on HBO, PBS, A&E, Lifetime and Netflix among others; and in theaters worldwide.


Open Mind Lecture

March 1, 2018

In his latest book, SNAP/Change your Personality in 30 DAYS, co-authored with Gigi Vorgan, Dr. Gary Small presents a program to change negative aspects of your personality to positive ones. Small’s innovative approach is based on the latest studies from the fields of neuroscience and psychology that show it is possible to change aspects of your personality. This gives new hope to anyone who wants to improve results in personal, family, business, and civic relationships. Small and Vorgan provide step-by-step advice that can show results in as little as 30 days.

No One Cares About Crazy People

Open Mind Lecture

February 6, 2018

Ron Powers is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, an Emmy-winning network commentator, and the author of sixteen books, the latest of which is NO ONE CARES ABOUT CRAZY PEOPLE: THE CHAOS AND HEARTBREAK OF MENTAL HEALTH IN AMERICA, published in March 2017 by Hachette. NO ONE CARES weaves the long and deeply flawed history of attempts to deal with the mentally ill in Europe and then in America, and the personal saga of his two sons, Kevin and Dean, each of whom was struck by schizophrenia. Kevin, a gifted guitarist, took his life in July 2005, a week before his twenty-first birthday. His older brother Dean, a promising writer and musician, was afflicted a few years later, and presently lives with his parents in Vermont at age 35.